Sunday, February 28, 2010
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
"I was noting some of the information you have online about KFML and I never see you mention the actual birth of the station, which you may find of interest. My husband, Evert Abram Bancker, Jr., purchased the station while he was living in Chicago attending the University of Chicago and moved it lock, stock and barrel from Chicago to Denver.
"His vision was of a purist classical radio station, which is what KFML was originally. He also had, in the lower below ground level beneath the station on Fillmore Street, a record/hi-fi store which also sold high end electronics and furniture. That was known as the Allegro Music store. It had two huge fish tanks at the entrance and usually had a huge lizard whose name was Quazimoto tied outside at the entrance. The lizard finally broke loose one day and made the front page of the Denver Post as it was captured and placed in the zoo.
"As Evert was well in advance of his time, the station of course didn't make any money. He tried to manage with subscriptions but was certainly ahead of PBS and that didn't work very well. KFML ended up in receivership and was purchased sometime in the early 60s by a family who maintained some of the classical repertoire, but gradually it evolved into what I heard (we had moved to Europe by then) it became, which is what you are speaking about.
"... My husband's first wife, Janet, is still living and might remember some of the old staff that worked there. I simply cannot recall any names, but some of them did stay with the new owners after it went into receivership. I recall the attorney in the receivership, who remained a friend, was Leslie Gross. Leslie was killed flying into Aspen in a small plane from Denver in the 60s. Not that that makes any difference. If Janet recalls any details however that may be of interest I will pass them on to you..."
Friday, December 26, 2008
Bill Ashford, a Colorado pioneer in the underground "free-form radio" genre best remembered for his years as a disc jockey at Boulder's KRNW and Denver's KMYR and KFML, died Dec. 10 in Ocala, Fla., his home since 1993. He was 66.
At the time of his death, Mr. Ashford was... the producer and programmer of The Rock Garden Show, a free-form rock Internet radio station.
Mr. Ashford spent his life in broadcasting, starting with getting his own radio show at age 14. But it was at the fondly remembered KFML that Mr. Ashford found legendary status, at least among early 1970s Colorado listeners.
"This was progressive radio, with an open-ended, free-form approach to programming, low- key and genuinely hip disc jockeys playing album cuts regardless of length or sales statistics," said longtime Denver music critic and author G. Brown. "And Bill was the hippest of them all.
"He had encyclopedic knowledge. He could take you somewhere with a set he would craft. He perfected the art of the segue, going from one key to another. It was a rhythmic thing, crafting these sets based on his knowledge of the music. It was the halcyon days of radio."
"He was dedicated to what he did," said Thom Trunnell, now a Denver deliveryman, and the onetime program director for KFML. "He believed it was important, as we all did. He had a way of knowing who was doing what, how to present it.
"He had a lot of connections and knew how to get information about bands and performers sooner than the rest of us did. He was a musician's disc jockey."
Born Dec. 5, 1942, in Fletcher, N.C., Mr. Ashford's first album was a Bix Beiderbecke 78, a Christmas gift from his father. It was to be the first of many.
"Duke Ellington once said there were two kinds of music: good and bad," said Trunnell. "We tried to present what was good. And Bill really had an ear for that."
Over the course of his career, Mr. Ashford worked at radio stations in Denver and Boulder; Fayetteville, N.C.; San Francisco; Austin, Texas; Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Indianapolis; Grand Rapids, Mich; Colorado Springs; and Ocala.
He was also a songwriter. He co-wrote Floods of South Dakota with his then-wife, singer Judy Roderick. Years later, Tim & Mollie O'Brien recorded a version that in 1992 was nominated for a Grammy.
"He was always all about the music," said Gail Ashford, his wife of 31 years. "Because he was a songwriter, he was always coming up with a good tune, a good lyric.
"As I clean the house now, I'm finding all these scribbled notes everywhere. He would get up in the middle of the night and put song sets together because he would have them in his head. He'd be dreaming about this stuff. It was like living with an artist who painted with music.
"To me, Bill will always live on in a good lyric well written, a beautiful melody well sung and a screeching guitar riff."
Last summer, Brown tracked down several old Denver DJs, including Mr. Ashford, for a special tribute to the Summer of '67 on Denver's now-defunct KCUV.
"He had a four-hour stint on the show," Brown said. "We got so many calls from people who remembered him. To reconnect like that was really a joy for me."
Mr. Ashford is survived by his wife, Gail Ashford, of Ocala; four daughters, Mary Ashford Rohrich, of Steele, N.D., Holly Ashford, of Tallahassee, Fla., Hannah Ashford, of Tampa, Fla., and Erin Ashford, of Tallahassee; a stepbrother, Roger Ashford, of Charlotte, N.C.; his stepmother, Margaret Ashford, of Newberry, S.C.; five grandchildren and one great- grandchild.
Friday, December 12, 2008
BILL ASHFORD (1942-2008)
There's a fair amount of information about Bill at this site. Please use the Google search bar above the "Free form Radio" masthead to search within this site. An external search will also bring stuff up, but most all of it is linked here.
Notable links include:
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
A group of us were asked recently if we could name the 'record album' that had changed our lives. Judging from the massive response, a lot of people feel that a given album by a particular band DID change their lives.
But I had to be honest. For me, it was not an album - it was a radio station and a record store.
The radio station was KFML, and driving to Golden High School in 1977 in my oil-burning 1972 Chevy Vega, it was the hippest thing going. I found it by accident, and the DJs were so shocking, I kept it on just to see what would happen next. The first song I heard was one that I had never heard before in my life - "Concrete Jungle," by The Specials.
The record store was a frequent advertiser on KFML - Wax Trax, in downtown Denver. Run at that time by two wonderful women and their many cats, it had not one single LP by any band I had ever heard of, other than what I had heard on KFML. My first visit, I left clutching a copy of "Concrete Jungle" by The Specials, and I soon came back for "Mirror Star" by The Fabulous Poodles.
I could spend hours recalling all the time I spent there - all the friends I dragged in - all the people I met there. It was there that I found out about the "Rocky Horror Picture Show," and subsequently mispent the next two summers, attending every midnight show at the Ogden and trying to dress like Eddie. I used Wax Trax as a Gom Jabbar of sorts - if I took a friend there and they didn't *get it,* we'd never be friends - we were too different.
In every young person's life, there comes a time when he or she must decide if they like bands like Kansas and Boston and AOR music in general (or whatever the current bands are that fill this slot), or if they think those bands suck and thus forever mark themselves as a person who will not accept the status quo; a person who will be always be disliked by the mainstream lamers.
Down the first path is happiness and contentment, and a soul-numbing blandness that soothes while it destroys.
The second path - well, it's all I know. And I would not go back for anything. But it is not for the weak; only for the disturbed.
Thanks, Wax Trax. Thanks, KFML.
posted by Wigwam Jones at 12/11/2006 04:13:00 PM
Friday, August 01, 2008
Friday, August 24, 2007
Wow! What an incredible treasure you have compiled! I loved Bill Ashford’s summary of Free Form and KFML. Not a day goes by that I don’t recall something about those incredible times (sometimes with horror—lol).
Brian Kreizenbeck was the man who initiated KFML. Thom Trunnell and I were sort of stranded at a station, KOME, in San Jose when Thom and I contacted Joe McGoey for a personal meeting in Denver. The deal would be that everybody would be paid $100 per week and we would split the profits every month. And that’s how it all came together as a sort of “collective”. I was the “sales manager”. I became totally caught up in the marketing and creativeness of Free Form back when KMYR was on the air. That station was staffed by some ex-KMPX air staff, as well as Ashford, Trunnell, Don Bridges, Ed Hepp and Jim Mason. A whole other saga.
I am so grateful that you have created this historic portal.
(Picture of Herb courtesy of KFMLNooze.com)
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Bill Clarke came out to Colorado in 1963 for college at the University of Denver. He became a disc jockey at KLZ-FM -- the first FM in Denver, if not the whole USA, to play album versions of rock hits -- before a two-year hitch in the Army brought him to Vietnam. He's now the Consumer Champ at 7News and a 20-year veteran at the station.
Bill Ashford was on the first full-time airstaff at KFML, Denver's pioneering "free form," or "underground" station. The emergence of KFML-AM and FM was a major influence in the Denver area radio market, a departure from programming tradition -- every disc jockey was free to play whatever music he chose in whatever sequence his ideas suggested.
Max Floyd started the original KLZ-FM along with Bill Gardner. He went to Kansas City and started the original KY102. He left for a bit in 1980 and came back in 1983, and he has been there ever since. Max is included in the group of pioneers in the broadcast section of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Jay Cooper was part of the "new crew" on KFML. Jay interviewed and introduced an amazing array of musical up-and-comers during the four-year run of Ebbets Field, Denver's premier concert venue of the '70. Hundreds of the shows were either simulcast live or recorded for re-broadcast on KFML. Jay has the beard.
Thom Trunnell, a free form programmer par excellence, was one of the founding fathers of KFML.